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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 7, 2010 3:00am-4:00am EST

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fill with her own people from alaska for all we know. >> richard wolff, thanks. i'm sam seder in for keith olbermann tonight. thanks for joining us. have a good night.ç the deal. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews, leading off tonight, the deal is done. you now the outlines of the deal between the white house and congressional republicans that was announced by president obama just minutes ago. it looks like this. a two-year extension of all bush tax cuts including those for the wealthy. a 13-month extension of unemployment insurance. and a 2 percentage point increase drop in the payroll tax
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for one year. he also teased what looks to be a major obama push for debt reduction, tough choices he called it.{ that he said would give him a powerful case to end the bush tax cuts for the wealthy in two years. we'll take a look at the deal and what it means for the economy and who won, who lost politically at the top of the show. democratic sources tell nbc news liberal members are objecting to the extension of the bush tax cuts and reduction of the estate tax for inhern tanss of more than $5 million. a lot of progressives say president obama didn't, quote, fight hard enough to win more concessions from republicans. we'll get into that argument. plus, has the word gone out among some republicans it's okay to bash sarah palin? where once seldom was heard a discouraging word now sarah palin is taking shots from the likes of ed rollins, joe scarborough and barbara bush. has someone sounded the dog whistle? a federal appeals court heard arguments late today on proposition 8, ban on same-sex marriage in california. david bois joins us tonight.
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another brilliant idea for the people who brought you the tea party. voting rights should be limited to people who own land. boy, does that sound like a federalist policy from 200 years ago? check out the "sideshow" for that. jean cummings is with politico. thank you for joining us. it seems like there's a lot in thisúnft just extending the bush tax cuts including those for the people making the top brackets but the earned income tax, democratic idea, child tax, 2% drop in the payroll tax. accelerated depreciation which allows business to make investments in the coming year and have it count as an immediate write-off. a lot of this stuff seems to be aimed at helping the economy. you know? it's what's interesting here, as we've been talking the politics and will he fight or won't he fight? i got the feeling the president was looking at the economic picture and ridiculously high unemployment rate and what he can to do lower it. >> i agree with you.
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the last two items you mentioned are important in terms of economic stimulus. i think that the white house was looking at this from two dimpbts angles. one of them was do everything he can to get the economy going again because if he can get the economy going again, he can get strength back. he can gain some political capital. >> exactly. >> for the fights that -- >> that's what the{ leverage would be. >> -- would come in the future. >> i thought there was a huge tease, jean, you look for these things as well. let's take a look at the president. i think he had some big tease item in there about debt reduction he's going to grab on to something from that commission. he never mentioned it before tonight and did tonight. let's listen to the president late today. >> i have no doubt that everyone will find something in this compromise that they don't like. in fact, there are things in here that i don't like. namely the extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans and the wealthiest of states. these tax cuts will expire in two years and i'm confident that
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as we make tough choices about bringing our deficit down, as i engage in a conversation with the american people about the hard choices we're going to have to make to secure our future and our children's future and our grandchildren's future, it will become apparent that we cannot afford to extend those tax cuts any longer. >> jean, two big stories here. let's get to them. first of all the compromise he's made with republicans. do we know if that sells with the house democrats? >> we don't know that. in fact, right after the president started speaking i touched base by e-mail with a senior aide over in the house, and they don't know where the votes are right now. they have not had an opportunity own with their people. portunity some of the early reaction has been from progressives has been to blame the republicans and not necessarily the president. if he stays along those lines, they should be all right, but the progressive base is very hot
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on this issue, and they are really riled up about the fact that they feel like the white house gives in as we heard on ed's show, gives in and gives in, and there's going to be a lot of pressure on the progressive members of the house to resist. >> well, the point is, they're the only people left in the democratic party. you think they'd be embarrassed by the fact if they're such a successful political movement, why are they getting smaller and smaller? let's bring in jonathan alter. it seems to me the reason progressives can talk with a simple voice, clear hearted left wing voice is there's so few of them now and they're in seats that couldn't be beaten by{ republicans in the best republican year in history. >> they have the freedom to do that because they're in safe seats. the big question for the liberal democrats is where pelosi is and how committed she. obviously she was in on this, but is she giving it with a wink or is she truly going to go and, as they say, whip these votes to make sure the president doesn't
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have trouble on this? the part of the package i'm the most puzzled by is the time of the extension. two years takes it out past the next election. why didn't the democrats hold out -- >> didn't have a choice because they insisted, the republicans i think on two years. they want this battle before the next election. the president, however, i want jean in on this, the president seemed to tease something very important. i think based upon what he said tonight, he's going to go to the state of the union in the beginning of next year and ask the american people to join him in a major long-term debt reduction effort. in the context of where he's asking people to, perhaps, accept way down the road later retirement. cost reductions in medicare and medicaid. very painful cuts. military cuts. things like that. is it harder for the republican business crowd to demand tax cuts for the rich in that kind ç of environment? in other words, two years from now the environment may be different for the president. he may be counting on that. >> oh, yeah, i think it probably will be different. also, the big difference, they
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hope, is we're not in a hole economically, where it's very hard to raise taxes in the middle of a recession on anybody. >> if we still have a recession in two years, that will be a depression. >> they'll kick it down the road, again, because you can't raise taxes easily on anybody in the middle of a recession. >> to chuck todd at the white house. perhaps i'm reading into this, but i'm reading hard. it is that this president intends to fight the fight over taxes later. he didn't kick this down the road, he expects to use the state of the union to come out with some major commitment to debt reduction. a lot of pain and agony, as he said, tough choices. does that mean he thinks the context later will be not con conducive to rich people demanding tax cuts? >> reporter: you talk to some folks within the white house and say, we're fine{ having this as an election fight in 2012. they want to have it. will he have credibility with some voters? he spent a lot of time in 2008 talking about rolling back tax cuts for those folks who make over $250,000. i think we'll know how hard he's going to do this.
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you bring up the state of the union. the dealt commission plan has a lot of pain in there for everybody, the centerpiece of it is tax reform. is he going to take that part of it up, put in his state of the union? there are a lot of folks inside this white house that would like him to do that. there are some who don't. does he take the entire debt commission plan and own it, or does he at least take tax reform and own that? because that actually -- some support with serious republicans that aren't looking to just score political points but want to bring down the overall rates. does he put that in there? if he does, that goes to what you're saying that this is almost chess, not checkers, as far as the future of this fight over taxes. >> let me ask you about the theatrics here. frank rich wrote in this weekend from "the new york times," he's a smart guy but i think he was playing theater director this week with the president suggesting he should act like ralph cramden, the loud mouthed guy in the "honeymooners." did he come autoagainst the republicans on this? ç
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>> reporter: no. six months ago, don't forget it was the president talking about having a fight about taxes that wanted to make an election, have a fall election debate about these bush era tax cuts and it was capitol hill democrats, all the ones now that have a spine that didn't have the spine six months ago and didn't want to do this. and so -- >> russ feingold. >> reporter: the white house is sitting there going, hey, guys, guess what, we lost this election. the best hand we have is this. if we wait out the end of the year, not only is it going to be fiscally hard on millions of americans, both lower income, upper income, every income, but they're going to get a worse deal what comes out in a compromise between a democratic senate and republican house. so what's{ amazing here about this criticism coming right now
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from the so-called professional left to borrow a phrase from robert gibbs is it seems to be not grounded in reality. >> you know, i think they have a point of view, but i think the president has a job which is different than a point of view. let's start with jean cummings then around to jonathan then back to you, chuck, with my question. let's take the alternative scenario to the one he took tonight. suppose the president came out and said, i'm fighting to use the metaphor the people in the progressive community use. i'm willing to go through christmas, new year's, next year, for months if necessary, challenge the republicans to hold their stance on rich people tax cuts at the expense of higher taxes for everybody, the death of dadt. the death of s.t.a.r.t. all those things to make my point, because that's what it would have taken. jean, was that a reasonable probability for him to do? in other words, what he decided not to do tonight against all the advice from the loud left, would it have worked politically?
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>> it probably would not have worked politically, if we're talking about the independents. which is the group that the white house needs to win back. and the independents did not want that kind of fighting, if you look at focus groups and polling. ì=9bujurt$u$e economy going cus again. the stimulative pieces of this are a part of a reaction to that. the independents wanted an end to some of the fighting. they wanted to see their country working together. so compromise is the way to go to apiece them in that regard as well. the other question, the other element of your question, chris, to look at, let's say he did fight for the next two months or three months and, see, you know, all of the bad things that might happen. in the end, would he have ever gotten the votes? >> that's the question. >> to do what he wanted to do? if you look at the democratic-controlled senate today, it appears as though he doesn't have the votes right now.
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so would that have improved when you have a house republican majority? of course not. >> he looked down the tunnel, john, and saw defeat at the end of a long struggle. >> to use the military nicety, he called it collateral damage. as he said at the end, he reiterated, this is not an abstraction. you're talking about 2 million people who are going to have unemployment insurance run out and 98% of the american public that would have a pretty steep tax increase at the beginning of january. you know, he -- while we're fussing around in washington, he's thinking, we just can't do that to people, so it became a responsibility test for him, a governing test. >> it's an easier position to take. thank you for coming in tonight on "hardball." coming up, much more on the deal between president obama and the republicans that's just been cracked. let's see if it holds. some liberals aren't happy as we've heard. we're going to get reaction from the loud left, the progressive left, whatever. there are all kinds of names for them, but they have a big role
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here we go. how will liberals react to this compromise plan the president just announced with the republicans? joining me now, democratic congressman keith ellison of minnesota. you've been working hard tonight. you're on the night duty here. let me ask you this. it seems to me there's two kinds of democrats. the ones who got beaten this november and the ones that
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survived. the ones that survived probably can't get beaten because this is the worst year a democrat is probably going to face for centuries. they can be progressive. >> i'm not sure that's true, chris. >> it can get worse? >> i think it could get worse and i think the people who won this time around won because they really dug in and worked hard and convinced the voters. nobody was handed anything in the last election. >> the safe seats, sir. >> there's no such thing as a safe seat. >> excuse me. >> i disagree. >> san francisco, the bay area -- >> there are no safe seats. a lot of long-term democrats have been there a long time. >> okay. i end my story right there. you can't be beaten in san francisco as a democrat. >> what about oberstar? >> i mentioned new york, san francisco, philadelphia, chicago. you can't lose in the inner city if you're a democrat. you can't lose. >> well, i would venture to say cf1 o safe seat is probably --
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>> we're arguing over something -- let's face it, congressman, i'm right, you're wrong on this one. let's mooufr on. >> i don't agree. >> crow have the right attitude. >> don't forget about the primary challenge either, chris. don't forget -- >> it's from the left. >> you have -- well, look at -- no, look at detroit. you know, caroline kilpatrick got beat by hansen clark. she got a challenge there. no safe seats. >> okay. we're -- no safe seats from the right. let's go in -- i'll make it that way. the issue now, what will be the responsibility of your progressive caucus for the president's deal tonight? do you check yet or have to check with the people? >> we have to huddle and check in. i will say this. i hate the president was put in a position to have to make this compromise. the fact is we shouldn't have to -- we shouldn't have to fight this way just to extend unemployment benefits for so many americans who paid into unemployment{ insurance. no time when unemployment is
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this high have we had to fight over this kind of thing and now 2 million people are looking at being without unemployment insurance and another 2 million by the end of february. so the fact he had to make this kind of compromise i feel very bad about and it just -- i hope it motivates people to get out there and to campaign hard so we can really have economic policies that benefit the whole economic -- >> just to make your progressive point, which i think i know how to make, i would have put that on the floor and forced the republicans to vote against it on christmas eve, say, go ahead, guys, we'll make your day. you want to be scrooge, vote up or down on unemployment insurance extension. why didn't you do that? >> well you know what, i don't make those calls. but the thing is, i think we made that point. i got up on the house floor and said that. look at the people who voted against unemployment insurance. >> let's get smart, let's listen to the president tonight, what he said. i think you're right, he was boxed in. here he is. >> i'm not willing to see 2
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million americans who stand to lose their unemployment insurance at the end of this month be put in a si(uation where they might lose their home or their car or suffer some additional economic catastrophe. so sympathetic as i am to those who prefer a fight over compromise, as much as the political wisdom may dictate fighting over solving problems, it would be the wrong thing to do. >> congressman, last response to that. what do you make of that? bottom line it. >> well, bottom line is, i think the president is right. he's in a very tough position, but the answer is we have to dig in and fight and get out there between now and every day until the next election comes by to help make the case to the american people that the republicans are not good at managing the economy, they don't have the best interest of the working classes at heart, and we have to make sure even the people in the well to do community understand that we're
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not going to have the economic ladder that they climbed up if we keep on doing these kind of things. >> thanks so much{ for staying around, sir. let's bring in salon's steve kerr nanky. you have to look at the problem the president faced. he was afraid he could never get enough democrats to make the case to stop the tax cuts for the rich. that's what he was saying tonight. >> i think you're absolutely right. that's sound reasoning. what's been lost in this whole debate is there's a disconnect between what you call the loud left which is very real and the democratic party base. if you look at barack obama's poll numbers among democrats right now, his approval rating is 81%. that's higher than reagan was among republicans at his point in this term. >> i don't want to put down the loud left, that's their -- >> i agree. when you look at this. you can portray this if you want as a cave-in -- if you're a member of the democratic rank and file, there's a possibility, we'll see, there's a possibility that coming out of tonight as a
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result of this don't ask, don't tell, gets repealed in the next month, the s.t.a.r.t. treaty gets passed. >> if he didn't go the route he went tonight, all that stuff is dead and the progressives would kill him on it. >> the economy is the primary thing that determines re-election. if >> do these fellows in congress and women have a ç different job -- his job is to make sure people don't get stuck with higher taxes. they can talk loudly and make a good progressive argument. if they keep the argument up everybody's taxes go up. >> they're in safe districts where their biggest threat is a primary challenge. that's the language you use. >> are you just arguing with any? >> that's how you survive. >> these guys, anyway, let me ask you about this issue of the debt. it seems to me what he's planning to do in the state of the union, this is a tease, get serious about long-term debt reduction. that means adjustments in social security, medicare, military spending, tough stuff.
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in that context, is it harder for people to be completely selfish at the top and say, i want my tax cut no matter what? >> yeah. i think the argument on this really has already been won by democrats.{ if you take a poll on this, do you think under these conditions the wealthiest americans deserve a tax cut? the answer is overwhelmingly no. we're in a climate, the economy is this bad, people want to blame obama for everything. that's the logic between pushing this down the road. get a better climate in two years he can do it. >> i watched a weatherman on television, big heavy set guy, huge guy, told jokes. they had him on three months, and they told him, lose weight. he's a smart progressive, become a loud mouth big guy that slobbers over -- >> not how he won. >> they keep acting like change now. i think he was smart tonight. >> i agree. >> i think he was smart tonight. a couple things people ought to look at is economy.
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if they accelerate -- all will stimulate this economy. if he can stimulate the economy he will be stronger next year. if he can't he'll be weaker next year. >> every president depends on the economy. >> it's not about pretending and theater and frank rich stuff. it's about making the economy better. thank you for giving me idea of the tea party. the head of tea party nation wants you to own party if you want to vote. how's that for the old federalist argument? you better be rich if you want to vote. that's ahead in the "sideshow."
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back to "hardball." it's "sideshow" time. live from new york, it's julian assange. "snl" imagined what the wikileaks founder would do as
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head of tmz watch. >> tonight, i present a new wikileaks, where the leaks are even more embarrassing and the details are even more sordid. welcome to wikileaks: tmz. >> slow night today, guys. looking for world leaders behaving badly. come on. >> well, our guys caught up with president hamid karzai leaving tong last night, and i think it kind of speaks for itself. >> your boy obama was in afghanistan. did you get to see him? >> i did. >> did you ask you about the bribery in your administration? >> sir, you forgot your briefcase. >> i do not take bribes. ç >> anyway, assange will be the one soon ducking cameras. great britain, where he is believed to be hiding, has just
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received a european warrant for his arrest. next, those were the days, my friend. jed phillips said that restricting voting to property owners makes a lot of sense -- >> the founding fathers originally said they put certain restrictions on who got the right to vote. it wasn't you were just a citizen and automatically got to vote. some of the restrictions were, you obviously would not think about today, but one of them was you had to{ be a property owner. and that makes a lot of sense because if you were a property owner, you actually have a vested stake in the community. and if you're not a property owner, you know, i'm sorry, but property owners have a little bit more of a vested stake in the community than not property owners do. >> let's get this straight. you live in an apartment today, for example, forget it. you're in college living in a dorm, forget it. in a senior citizen's residence, forget it. tea anyone? now to tonight's "big number."
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treasury unveiled these new high-tech $100 bills in april of this year. the problem? the production is so complicated that some ended up with a design defect that renders them unusable. making matters worse, there's no easy way to separate the correctly printed $100 notes from the duds which means there's a whole lot of bills sitting in government quarantine. that's what they call it. how much are they worth? according to cnbc, $110 billion. that value represents 10% of the total u.s. currency supply, $110 billion in bills are not worth the paper they're printed on, tonight's -- it would be a lot funnier if it weren't true "big number." republicans against sarah palin. the establishment of the republican party fears if they don't stop her now she'll cruise to the presidential nomination come 2012 only to get blown away in the general election by president obama and now some of her potential 2012 rivals are making some noise. that's ahead. wait until you hear them. they're scared of her. they're talking it.
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here's what's happening. congress has approved a $1.5 billion compensation package for native americans and black farmers to settle claims they were victims of discrimination by the u.s. department of agriculture. elizabeth edwards' cancer has taken a turn for the worst. her family says she is resting comfortably at home. police in florida arrested a homeless man suspected of carrying out the first murder ever in the disney created town of celebration. wikileaks founder julian assange will appear in court tomorrow to address a warrant
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related to alleged sexual assaults. winter's coming early to half the nation. heavy snow, high winds, freezing temperatures are causing miseries from indiana to pennsylvania, even florida farmers are scrambling to protect fragile crops from an early season cold snap. back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball."ç are republicans putting out the word it's time to stop sarah palin? just before the midterm election, karl rove told the london telegraph -- "with all due candor appearing on your own reality show on the discovery channel i'm not certain how that fits into the american calculous of what keeps me or helps me see a person in the oval office." a few days later politico ran this headline "next for gop leaders topping palin." a few weeks after that, bushes
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weighs in. >> what's your read about sarah palin? >> i sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful and i think she's very happy in alaska and i hope she'll stay there. >> it's between my mom and governor palin, i got to go with my mom just in general because she's my mother. >> that was jeb bush. then rising republican star new jersey governor chris christie chimed in. >> do you think sarah palin could do it? >> be vice president? >> be president. >> well, who knows, jimmy. it's an amazing world. >> crazier things have happened? >> i don't know, but it's an amazing world. >> you've got to like a guy who rolls his eyes when asked a political question. then just yesterday veteran republican strategist mike murphy was on "meet the press." >> i've been a critic all along. started on this show at the republican convention thinking she was a bad strategic choice because she's a poison pill in the general election. wipe us out, i believe, but in the republican primaries, particularly in the conservative
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silo which will win the iowa caucus and get a lot of momentum, she's very, very powerful if she runs. so i think she'll have a half-life, but is going to be a powerful force. for some ways for good she's a plemsist and everything. we'll see if other republicans start to take that position quietly. >> so with the word out, pat buchanan and eugene robinson are here. both msnbc political analysts. gene, i want to start with you because you're not, i don't think a member of the active republican party right now. i've got to get your views on this because there is -- there does seem to be a pattern of not a whispering campaign and right out in the open campaign of clearing the deck of sarah palin. ç i'm not sure it works, but it's trying to work. >> yeah, i mean, chris, it will come as a shock to you that i'm not on the republican star chamber e-mail list, so i don't get those e-mails, but maybe one went out. clearly, there are people
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getting very nervous about palin and her what i would call preeminent position in the republican field right now.{ there's nobody that's got her charisma, nobody that has her twitter following, nobody who has a reality show like she's got. she's sarah palin and it's not just iowa. as murphy said, where she could do well. when she gets to my home state of south carolina, they're going to love her there, too. so if i were the republican thinking about running for president, i'd be really worried about sarah palin, too. >> pat, is there a differential between popularity in the evangelical wing of the republican party and general election prospects? is that a left wing assessment? >> it's a left wing assessment, but it's also not unfair in this sense, chris. let me take mike huckabee who ran a strong primary race in 2008, but i think he bumped his head at a point because he so strongly identified with the
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evangelical christian south, if you will. i think he would have a tough time in a general. there's no question about it that that alone gives you enormous strength and power in a nominating process that does not necessarily translate in the general. >> you mean the republican party wouldn't be advised to run marjo for president? >> i don't know who marjo is. >> remember, he was the young preacher. come on. if i get it outside the narrowest focus of politics, i lose you, pat. let me ask you this. just talking about -- he had a preacher's background. does that preacher's sort of jesus on the radio religion type of religion turn off the suburban republican voter? >> there's no doubt, chris, it turns off some. but let's take sarah palin now. she has the -- the tea party, the christian life, the right to lifers, many of these folks come out of the democratic party that you grew up and their children
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do. that's real reach across there. but the suburban republicans can be overrated. reagan, to get those folks with him and go after the reagan democrats, he did a smart thing of putting george {h.w. bush of walker's point on his ticket with him to close the party and go after the conservative democrats and independents. >> do you think, gene, that the democrats are hoping they can get a break and a weak opponent coming around? because it's going to be a tough time for anybody running for re-election in america, especially trying to carry the whole country and getting 270 electoral votes next time as an incumbent. do you think the white house people, can you tell, are they rooting for her, rooting for huckabee or somebody on the evangelical right who will have no chance in the philadelphia suburbs, the new york suburbs, the cleveland suburbs, the kinds of places they need to win? >> sure, i think they are routing for that.
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i think that's a mistake, though, if that's their electoral strategy for 2012 to root for a defeatable republican opponent. in fact, what i think they have to do is build an affirmative case and then if on top of that, if on top of having built your affirmative case for re-election then you also happen to get sarah palin as your opponent, with her high negatives, then i think you feel a lot better going into 2012 than otherwise you might. >> let's take a look at sarah palin. i'm sorry to interrupt. we have a great picture of sarah palin coming up. here she is, a scene from last night, her reality show. this is almost hard for people like me who grew up in the burbs and the cities to appreciate. let's listen to it. >> it's coming right here. just wait. >> okay.
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>> go ahead. >> good. >> there you go, baby. there you go. there you go. >> okay, good. >> that's just perfect. >> so, what do you make of that, pat? ç this is unusual. that wasn't john kerry in cammo. that was the real thing. >> that wasn't john kerry doing the -- what is the thing he did off the shores of nantucket or whatever? >> no, it's a different -- >> wind surfing. >> appeals certainly to probably deer hunter country in pennsylvania i would say. >> this is where she has real strength. hunters and sportsmen and outdoor folks and men will really say, you know, this is really a terrific gal and chris, let me say this. she is getting picked at, but they're not by major, i think, with some exceptions, major figures. look at how mitt romney is handling this. and bobby jindal is handling this.
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mitt romney is praising her. jindal said, of course, she can be elected. this is what the republican party's got to do. with regard to republican establishment, they wanted rockefeller instead of goldwater, rockefeller instead of nixon in '68, george h.w. bush instead of reagan. and the democratic party wanted goldwater an wanted reagan, they were wrong about reagan and right about goldwater. so i would not if i were the democratic party automatically start celebrating because this woman has an enormous amount of reach outside of politics in culture. >> okay. she's a dead shot. thank you, pat buchanan and eugene robinson. up next, the fight for gay marriage. talking about different subjects. california's controversial gay marriage ban is back in the courts today. it may well go down. this could be a big change in american history. if he wins, same-sex marriage wins as well. [ male announcer ] think you can only charge one thing at a time...?
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republicans have pushed states rights, and now pushing legislation -- roger wicker is planning to introduce a bill this week that would allow state officials to challenge the constitutionality of state laws before they go into effect. the states right bill is in large part a reaction to health care reform, of course. wickers said it could be used for other regulations such as those for the environmental protection agency. wooe back.
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the legal battle over gay marriage is now one step closer to going before the supreme court. supporters of proposition 8 which bans same-sex marriage in california brought their case before a federal appeals court today and david bois and ted olson were once at odds in the bush versus gore case argued against the case. david bois joins us now, he's an attorney for american fouldq%=9ñ for equal rights. chad griffin is the board president of american foundation for equal rights. let me start with david bois. could you give me, david, a layman's case for striking down prop 8? >> sure.
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marriage has been ruled to be a fundamental right by the united states supreme court 14 times over the last 100 years and question is, should that fundamental right be available to gays and lesbians? what we proved in court is depriving gays and lesbians of the right to marry harmed them in significant ways and harmed the hundreds of thousands of children that gay and lesbian couples are raising today. we also proved that preventing gays and lesbians from marrying had no social benefit to anybody else. it didn't help heterosexual marriages obviously. it didn't help anybody else in our society. so there was no rational basis for depriving these people of this fundamental right. >> let's go to chad griffin for a response to what you just heard. >> yeah, chris. thank you. the legal arguments and political arguments are so important, but also in this case there are four plaintiffs and those four plaintiffs and families were seated in that courtroom today.
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every single day we continue to have state sanctioned discrimination is doing grave harm to those plaintiffs, to their children, to their families and millions of other young people across this country, whether from fresno, california, or little rock, and as long as we have state-sanctioned discrimination in this country against a class of people, it gives license to others to discriminate. >> let me ask you, chad -- let me go back to actually david on this. does your argument hold up if you were to say it would be equally valid to make this argument in the early days of our republic? had this argument been made in the late 18th century, would it have seemed credible or what it be different? what is -- what would have been the understanding of the constitution since you're ç arguing is a fundamental right to equal marriage rights? >> i think there are two aspects of that. first, i think one aspect of
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that is that the bias that we see against gays and lesbians today is really a product of the last 100 years. people talk about this going back generations and centuries. in fact, there was much morg{ tolerance of this in past periods than there has been in the last century. >> when did we have same-sex marriage in this country? >> you've never had same-sex marriage in this country. you've had same-sex marriage in other ancient societies, and we demonstrated that at trial. but you've never had same-sex marriage in this country. the question is whether recognizing as we do now the equality of all people in our country, not just the words, but the reality of it, should we extend this fundamental right to them? remember, when this country was founded, we the people was essentially we white male property owners. it's been an expansion of what it means to be equal from the beginning.
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>> let me go to chad should. the american people get to vote on this, or should it be a court decision? >> chris, one's fundamental constitutional rights should never be put up for a vote of the people. political campaigns are decided upon who has the most money, who has the best political rhetoric, who can put the best ads on television. and one's fundamental constitutional rights should never be put for a vote of the people. and i am one who believes in a ballot initiative process. and there are certainly things across this country that are voted on by the people. but a fundamental constitutional right, particularly that of a minority, should never be put up for a vote of the people and decided by a political campaign and who has the best advertising and the most money. >> what are the chance, david, of getting scalia on this, some of the more conservative judges, on the argument that it is a fundamental right and that they might just jump the fence and join you guys? >> right. we're not -- we're not giving up on any of the justices, because -- if you look at ted and
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myself, it's hard to find two lawyers farther apart on political spectrum. >> and we've always believed from the beginning this was not a conservative or liberal or republican or democratic issue. this was an issue of constitutional rights. and conservatives at least as much as liberals want to keep the government out of people's private lives. so i think that this is something that we could win -- no one ever likes to{ predict you're going to win 9-0, but we could win every justice on this. >> let me go to chad on this. does this have to do with gay orientation? or is this about equality? i'm just trying to figure the marriage issue here. a lot of people argue marriage isn't necessarily about pro creation. it's not necessarily about boy-girl. it's only about an association between two people. give me your philosophy on it. >> sure there is no question. look, many of these facts came out in our trial. with the tremendous amount of evidence and with two brilliant bipartisan lawyers on our side
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of this case. and marriage is clearly a bond between two loving people. there was a time in this country that when one said marriage, in many states, it did not mean a marriage between a black man and a white woman. >> okay. well said. we're moving on. we're with you. chad griffin, thank you for joining us. david boies. good luck with the odd couple's case out there at the ninth circuit. it's one of the great stories in history. >> thank you. >> when we return, let me finish with what i think people are looking for when they say they want president obama to fight. is it a metaphor? do they mean it? fight with his fists? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. should i have all of my policies with nationwide insurance ? bring in the parrots. home. auto. life. you see, jack, when your home, auto and life insurance are with separate companies, they're just noisy, right ? but when they work together ? ♪ home ♪ auto life ♪ wow. beautiful. nationwide insurance can get your policies in sync, and save you up to 25% ! i didn't know they could sing like that.
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let me finish tonight with a man everyone is talking about, president obama. i've never seen anything quite like this. everybody i talked to has advice for the guy. everybody knows what he ought to do and is to varying degrees is angry that this man is not doing it. well, the most obvious advice is for him to fight. that's the word these days. they don't mean that literally, invite republican senators up to the white house and start punching them, they don't mean grabbing them around the neck and squeezing them until they agree to cut taxes for people that make under $250,000 a year and not cutting the taxes for those who make more. the republicans that are holding up the tax cutting proposal that he the president won't sign any other version, and he is willing to let the congressmen to adjourn for new year and christmas to come and go and let the tax cuts evaporate for
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everybody. is this what they mean? taking the risk of letting the economy taking an additional beating in the first month of 2011, as the one man standing between them and not just their tax cut, but an improving economy? is he willing to have half the country or more seeing him as the country's number one economic problem? hmm. i think a lot of people want to see something in the middle. they want president to fight verbally, go on tv and blast away at the republicans as protectors of the wealthy. did we think we were picking a guy who shouted off his mouth and yelled bad things about those who disagree with them, deriding their motives any way he could? this problem with getting mad on television it's simply not in this president's nature. if we're honest with ourselves, we would know he wouldn't be ú look, it's hard being a smart liberal. the right can bellow from the gut. they hate taxes even necessary to pay for it. the left can also bellow from the gut. they don't like big business. they love activist government. they can call for more taxes to pay fo

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